What is busy?

It is easy to be busy. Why do we admire busy people?

Most American adults who are employed are busy; there is nothing special and nothing that should be admired about being busy.

I like to go back over my day and look to see what it was that I actually accomplished, that has or will lead to revenue.

I could stay busy 16 hours a day without ever working in my business or earning a dime, yet at the same time it would feel like "work." I don’t work so that I can stay busy; I work so I can pay the bills.

My goal in life is to work the least amount of hours and use them to generate the greatest amount of money.

I am not lazy. I work very hard, but I also have time for volunteer work, friends and family because I make the time. There isn’t anything that is more valuable than time. Our lives are made up of each moment, and they all add up to a lifetime.

It is fairly easy to dedicate every waking moment to business. I know people who seem to live that way. Some sell more real estate than I do, and others are just busier because they spend their time working hard in activities that don’t generate revenue.

Customer service isn’t about being busy or about doing everything it is about selling our listings and finding the best home for our buyers and helping them buy it.

I knew one agent who painted a seller’s basement for free to get the house sold. I would have gotten the sellers to pay someone to paint the basement.

He never sold the house, but some in our office said he was a great agent because he provided so much personalized service to his clients.

To some, an agent who never has time to cook a family meal and is always on the run with a kind of crazy life looks like a successful agent, and for some reason has become a role model. To me that agent looks like someone who has some serious time management issues. …CONTINUED

It is possible to be a successful Realtor and still have some time for other things.

An agent who doesn’t have time for a family vacation isn’t someone who should be admired, even if they do go that extra mile for their clients. I admire the agent who takes vacations and who sells houses. To me that is a person who has their act together. The agent who doesn’t have time isn’t my hero.

There is a point of diminishing return even with hard work. There is such a thing as a balanced life, and even Realtors can have one. It requires some time management, time blocking and planning, and even letting go of those time-consuming, non-revenue-generating tasks.

It is a crazy business and there will always be hectic days, but it doesn’t have to be every day or all the time. Chasing after business that isn’t likely to generate any revenue is one of the biggest time-wasters in this business.

Take the caller last weekend, who wanted to see a condo in the afternoon. He gave me almost no notice, and when I questioned him I found out he has an agent but that agent is out of town. A good dedicated agent would have rushed out and shown him the house.

The idea that if we work hard we will make more money is flawed. It is not hard work that makes us successful — it is working hard at the tasks that generate revenue and becoming proficient at them. Being everything to everyone all day long isn’t always the path to wealth and success — it is the path to exhaustion and burn out.

Starting each day with a to-do list that is a combination of things that need to be done for our current clients and items that will bring more business helps. At the end of the day it is easy to see how the time was spent. Even when business is slow, I stop working when the list is complete.

There are not many things that can kill a friendship, a marriage or a relationship with a family member faster than saying, "I am too busy." It is like saying, "You are not important. My work is all that matters."

The people who have time have it because they know how to manage time and how to run a business instead of letting the business run them.

It is far easier for a Realtor to let a business run them than it is to take control.

Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.


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